Why it's time to move on from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 & 2013
Microsoft Dynamics is changing at a rapid rate. Following the release of Dynamics 365 v9.0 a bigger gap has opened up between the latest technology and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 / 2013.
Mainstream Microsoft support for CRM 2011 ended in 2016 and with CRM 2013 set to follow in January 2019 there are increasing risks associated with staying on these earlier versions.
Change can be tough but in falling behind in technology, users are deprived of new functions that will help improve performance and ultimately increase competitiveness throughout an organisation. In repeatedly putting off upgrades, it increases the complexity to understand how new product features can be used, and how current processes will be impacted.
Upgrading from CRM 2011 or 2013 can be a big task so at the outset it is important to know how the new version will be of benefit.
Which new features and functions will create have the biggest impact depends on a combination of factors including which teams use Dynamics, your own processes and if you will retain an on-premise deployment, or switch to the cloud.
Based on the upgrades that Preact has carried out from CRM 2011 / 2013, these are some of the most recent investments in Dynamics 365 that customers have sought to implement:
- Integrated web portals, including self-service customer portals with connected case / knowledge management
- Guided process flows for any repeatable workflow that steer users towards successful outcomes by enforcing process rules and methodology to will improve consistency and data quality
- Office 365 integration to better leverage Outlook, Word, Excel, OneDrive and other Office 365 apps
- Improvements to record forms including business rules, calculated fields, text wrapping, field level security and multi-select field options
- Editable grids for bulk editing in list views
- Mobile apps for phone and tablet devices
- Synchronous real-time workflows
- New apps for Field Service and Project Service
- Theming controls to customise the user interface with a company logo and branded colours
- Relational visualisations for account, contact and product hierarchies
- Service level agreements and timer controls
- Automated case creation
In many instances, especially for upgrading Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 users, the latest technology enables customisations to be configured using native functions without the need to rely on custom coding which reduces the overhead of maintenance.
As with any project, upgrading from Dynamics CRM 2011 / 2013 requires a solid plan. Our project led upgrades begin with a scoping consultancy. During this we will:
- Understand how you currently use Dynamics CRM
- Demonstrate how your processes can be mapped to the new version, and how newer capabilities can be utilised
- Define precisely what data, code and customisations will be be migrated
- Document our findings and recommendations to carry out the upgrade including user familiarisation training
- Build a proof of concept if needed
In most instances, rather than directly upgrading a CRM 2011 / 2013 database, our technicians will replicate this as a new Dynamics database before migrating data. By doing this, it avoids carrying across any script, plug-in's or workflows which would cause an error, it minimises downtime and quickly gets a working version in front of users to gain early feedback and increase participation.
If your Dynamics CRM technology has fallen behind and updating this seems daunting, Preact will help you implement, test and deploy the latest version.
We have supported many customers in migrating to the latest cloud and on-premise versions of Dynamics from earlier versions. One example was leading chainsaw manufacturer, STIHL GB -read their case study here.
Please get in touch to find out more and to discuss how we can help you upgrade your Dynamics technology.